As a 17-year veteran of Carroll Hospital, nurse Michelle Rivers has seen a lot, but she couldn't help be moved when her colleagues honored her for her accomplishments. In May, Rivers was named the Carroll Hospital Nurse of the Year for 2017.
"Honestly, I can relate now to how Miss America feels when she gets crowned," Rivers said. "It was just a very humbling experience to be around my peers and when they called my name. It's still brings tears to my eyes even now."
Nurse of the Year has been awarded to one member of the Carroll Hospital staff during Nurses Week, in early May, for at least 20 years, according to Stephanie Reid, chief nursing officer at the hospital.
"Any of the nurses on staff can be nominated," Reid said, "but it's not any of the leaders; it's peers, bedside nurses" who make the nomination.
Rivers came to Carroll Hospital 17 years ago because she was already living in Carroll, and she "wanted to be able to live in a community and serve in that community."
Today, Rivers is a nursing education specialist, helping orient new nursing staff and train them on new software. Three years ago, Reid said, Rivers was instrumental in getting the hospital a special certification for dealing with geriatric patients.
It's one of Rivers' favorite things about nursing, sharing the knowledge she's acquired over the years with others.
"Even though I am not caring for the patients, I hope my knowledge and my passion for what I do is brought to the people who are at the bedside," she said.
But that's not to say Rivers never practices bedside nursing skills any longer. One of the things about Rivers that has so impressed her colleagues, Reid said, is how she can dip in and out of any unit, any situation, offering a helping hand.
"She is one that always goes the extra mile to get whatever a peer, a patient, any physician a customer may need — she just always gives her all," Reid said. "She rolls up her sleeves; she is not afraid to get her hands dirty."
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Just one example: Rivers gets around to a lot of units in the hospital in the course of her daily duties, Reid said, and earlier this year Rivers found herself in the hospital's Family Birthplace in the middle of an extremely busy shift.
"She picked up on that. She actually went and changed her clothes, got on scrubs, and came back and helped that team," Reid said. "And once she helped them get caught up, she ordered them pizzas since they hadn't had time to get to the cafeteria to eat. That's just sums her up — she is just amazingly responsive and caring."
It's not something she had to do, Rivers said, but it's just the way she operates.
"I just do things because I do them from the heart," she said. "I don't need a reward. I just want to make people happy."